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Harald Genzmer Works for Violin & Piano

Björn Kleiman and Martin Sturfält

The Schott Music Room, London, 4 Feb 2011

A launch concert was given to mark Björn Kleiman and Martin Sturfält's completion of their ambitious project to record all the music for violin & piano by Harald Genzmer (1909-2007), which they worked on in association with the composer during his last years.

There are 5 sonatas, 3 sonatinas and a set of 7 character pieces called Progression. Several of the earlier of those pieces were given assured performances by Kleiman and Sturfäl at Schotts, London, plus the "bonus interlude" of a short piece originally for flute and guitar, transferred to violin.

Genzmer's music is extensively recorded in Europe (see cover images from Spotify) but it has never been as familiar in UK as that of Hindemith's two British based composition pupils Franz Reizenstein, who emigrated to England in 1934 at the age of 23 to escape the Nazis (one of nearly 70 Jewish composers to do so from 1933-1945), and Arnold Cooke. Of Cooke, Hans Keller wrote "Cooke’s lack of executive ability denies to his music that virtuoso quality which characterises the work of his master Hindemith, or his fellow student, Reizenstein; Cooke’s music is simple, easy to play, accessible; in a word, Gebrauchsmusik".

In the new Genzmer CD [Thorofon CTH 2572/2] we enjoyed particularly the compact Sonata no 3, whch would be a good starting point to explore [12 mins; Edition Peters PE.P05870]. It is all well played and recorded, and will be especially a useful source for violin students seeking wider repertoire.

Recommended warmly.

Peter Grahame Woolf